SOLIDWORKS® Support Monthly News – December 2022

Hello to all,

Welcome to the new edition of the SOLIDWORKS® Support Monthly News! This monthly news blog is co-authored by members of the SOLIDWORKS® Technical Support teams worldwide. Here is the list of topics covered in this month’s Blog :

  1. Troubleshooting Filetype associations in SOLIDWORKS® PDM

  2. Create or customize your Cross Hatch Patterns

  3. Troubleshooting error message “Toolbox is currently in use…….” during installation/upgrade

  4. Tip to change the default Isometric orientation of Assemblies

  5. SOLIDWORKS® Visualize : Match Camera Perspective to Backplate

1. Troubleshooting Filetype associations in SOLIDWORKS® PDM


SOLIDWORKS® PDM has the ability to store and manage many different filetypes beyond native SOLIDWORKS® files (SLDPRT, SLDASM, SLDDRW, etc). PDM users are comfortable and familiar with the Windows Explorer interface and PDM does a great job in providing much the same experience users expect when managing and using files within a vault.

Sometimes there are small differences, which may cause a big effect in the user experience for PDM users. Issues such as double click not opening a file, or opening a file with the wrong application can be addressed by knowing where to look, and what to fix.

We will try to list and discuss the most commonly encountered filetype association issues that SOLIDWORKS® PDM support has seen. We shall also include the KB solution and QA numbers where to find the full description and details on how to fix each issue. But for the well seasoned PDM user we will also provide short summaries on what to look for.

Files open properly in Windows Explorer, but does not open within a PDM vault view:

Windows has several ways to launch a file in an application. Some are handled by Windows and others added by the application itself. SOLIDWORKS® PDM relies mainly on standard Windows API methods to figure out what application to use when the Open command is called. If the registry keys associated to the filetype do not point to the correct application we can see the problem illustrated below where trying to open the file within a PDM vault view does nothing.

Why does double (or right) clicking a file in a SOLIDWORKS® PDM vault view not open a specific associated file type, but opening the same file in a local Windows® File Explorer folder opens the file? [QA00000118742]

The most common reason is that the file type association values under the HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT registry hive are missing or pointing to an incorrect application. Follow the steps in the QA article to understand what registry keys the Windows API looks for, and what keys are used for commands such as “Open”.

Improper registry definition may cause more serious issues like hangs and crashes:

This is a good example where visible clues, which may seem irrelevant, point to the exact reason the application was encountering problems. In the screenshot below the user was experiencing very slow usage and freezing. Note the filetype was marked as a generic ‘File SLDPRT’, where it should be ‘SOLIDWORKS® Part Document’. This pointed to a problem where the filetypes were not properly defined and mapped to the SOLIDWORKS® Application.


When I use the SOLIDWORKS® PDM quick search or integrated search functionality, why do the SOLIDWORKS® file open or save dialog boxes stop responding (hangs or crashes)?[QA00000125463]

This QA article will have you survey several keys for each SOLIDWORKS® filetype in the HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT registry hive and check that they are defined with the proper document definition. Then you are instructed to check that these document types in the registry are pointing to the SOLIDWORKS® application. After these changes are made the SOLIDWORKS® files in the Type column should be displayed normally in the search output, as well as more importantly, no hangs or crashes.

Using an alternative application to open files within a PDM vault:

Sometimes you may want to use a different application from the one designated within the vault to open a file. Common scenarios include having a favorite PDF reader since many users have more than one installed. Another scenario is to designate an application when one is not configured.

How can I use eDrawings® for opening a SOLIDWORKS file on a PDM client without SOLIDWORKS® CAD installed? [QA00000124004].

The good news is that the instructions are almost the same as QA00000118742. The only difference is that we will specify eDrawings as the application to open the SOLIDWORKS® filetypes.

Bonus SOLIDWORKS® specific issue that is seen quite often. Generic SOLIDWORKS® icons and opening multiple SOLIDWORKS sessions:

What could cause part (sldprt), assembly (sldasm) or drawing (slddrw) files to open in separate ‘SLDWORKS.EXE’ sessions (instances) when using double-click or right-click open from Windows File Explorer? [QA00000116963]

This QA article will describe how the SOLIDWORKS® launcher helps open files, especially when you have multiple versions installed. Sometimes the SOLIDWORKS® file types are associated with SOLIDWORKS® directly (sldworks.exe) which causes this issue and cause multiple sessions of SOLIDWORKS® to be used.

2. Create/Customize Cross hatch patterns in SOLIDWORKS®

By Bhavya JHAVERI and Akhil C

Area hatch/fill is applied to section views, aligned section views and broken-out section views. SOLIDWORKS® allows the user to customize these crosshatch patterns, according to the requirement. The hatch pattern information is read from the “Sldwks.ptn” file. This hatch pattern file can be saved in any searchable folder so that it is not overwritten when SOLIDWORKS® is upgraded.

How do you create/customize the hatch pattern?

There are certain rules to be followed while creating or customizing the hatch patterns. These rules are mentioned in detail inside the “Sldwks.ptn” file itself.The “Sldwks.ptn” file consists of set of values [A, B, C, D, E, F, G]. Changing  these values, affects the hatch pattern style. These values indicate and affect different parameters which can be visualized with the help of image below:

[A, B, C, D, E, F, G]

(F & G) are optional values

(A) : Defines the angle.

(B, C) : The 2nd and the 3rd value indicate the coordinates of the start point of the sub-pattern.

(D) : The 4th value indicates the offset between the start points of consecutive linear sub-pattern.

(E) : The 5th value indicates the distance/spacing between the linear patterns.

(F,G) :Indicates the lengths of the sub-pattern. “Positive value” indicates the length of the visible line of the sub-pattern and “Negative value” indicates the length of the invisible line (or gap or empty space) of the sub-pattern.

Let’s consider a simple example and create the pattern shown below:

Considering the rules mentioned above,  the two line code for this pattern would be :

Line145, 0, 0, 0, 4, 2, -2

Line245, 1, 0.5, 0, 4, 2, -2

The two lines of values indicates the respective two lines of the sub-pattern.

Comparing the 1st line with the standard that we explained above :  [45, 0, 0, 0, 4, 2, -2] =  [A, B, C, D, E, F, G]

A= 45 (indicates angle)

B= 0 (x co-ordinate of the start point of the 1st line of the sub pattern, if one observes the value of the same paramter in ‘Line2’ its value is “1” because it’s starting point differs from the first one)

C= 0 (y co-ordinate of the start point of the 1st line of the sub-pattern, if one observes the value of the same paramter in ‘Line2’ its value is “0.5” because it’s starting point differs from the first one)

D=0 (as we want the next sub-pattern to start parallel on the same line of the initial sub-pattern, we keep it zero) (refer first image)

E=4 (distance between the linear pattern)

F=2 (length of the line of the sub-pattern)

G=-2 (length of the invisible line of sub pattern, which nothing but serves as the gap between the linear patterns which are above it)

At first it may seem apprehensive, but once understood, the user can play with the values to get the desired hatch pattern style. Similarly patterns like dashed lines, dots, brick styles, checkers and many more can be achieved. For more examples, one can view the different styles inside the default “Sldwks.ptn” file.

3. Troubleshooting “Toolbox is currently in use…….” during installation/upgrade

By Deepika PUJARI

The warning message ”Toolbox is currently in use. Make sure that no one is using Toolbox” can be the result of Toolbox being accessed or ‘swbrowser.ldb’ file present in the <Toolbox folder>\lang\english sub-folder during SOLIDWORKS® installation/upgrade.

The path of Toolbox folder can be found by opening the version of SOLIDWORKS® we are attempting to Install/Upgrade > Tools > Options > System Options > Hole Wizard/Toolbox.

LDB file is a ‘lock database file’ that is created when the user is accessing the Toolbox database or using Toolbox. Windows creates this file to prevent others from making changes to the *.sldedb file. Therefore, when installing or upgrading SOLIDWORKS® make sure no one is using Toolbox as ‘swbrowser.ldb’ will prevent the install/upgrade.

In the Installation Manager Log file, we may find an error similar to:

09:39:28        Error        Status        157        0        “SW MSG: WIDll_UpdateBrowserData: CustomActionData is C:\Program Files\SOLIDWORKS Corp\SOLIDWORKS 2022\SOLIDWORKS\;$d:\SOLIDWORKS Toolbox\Toolbox 2022\;$”

09:39:28        Error        Status        157        0        “SW MSG: WIDll_UpdateBrowserData: database in use d:\SOLIDWORKS Toolbox\Toolbox 2022\lang\english\SWBrowser.ldb”

09:39:28        Error        Status        157        0        “CustomAction UpdateBrowserData returned actual error code 1603 (note this may not be 100% accurate if translation happened inside sandbox)”

09:39:28        Error        Status        157        0        “Action ended 9:38:33: InstallFinalize. Return value 3.

Generally, ‘swbrowser.ldb’ should be automatically deleted when SOLIDWORKS is closed. If no one is using Toolbox and the *ldb file is still present in <Toolbox Folder>\lang\english\ then to resolve this issue :

  1. Close all SOLIDWORKS sessions
  2. Make sure no one is accessing Toolbox
  3. Browse to <Toolbox Folder>\lang\english\
  4. Delete the ‘swbrowser.ldb’ manually
  5. Start the installation/upgrade process.

For Toolbox managed by SOLIDWORKS PDM:

  1. Remove the ‘swbrowser.ldb’ file from the vault.
  2. Remove or clear the locally cached copy of the ‘swbrowser.ldb’ file from the vault view.

4. Tip to change the default Isometric orientation of SOLIDWORKS® Assemblies

By Sumit RANA

Does it ever happen to you that you open an assembly created by someone else, switch to the isometric view, and the orientation of the assembly does not make any sense? It’s pretty annoying, isn’t it?

But do you know that you can still correct the orientation? All you have to do is create the whole assembly again from scratch in the correct orientation.

What! You don’t want to do that? Fine! There is another way to do it; check out this video :

5. SOLIDWORKS® Visualize: Match Camera Perspective to Backplate

By Richie MORE

SOLIDWORKS® Visualize allows you to create stunning photo-realistic images and videos with the existing design CAD data.

To achieve a Realistic render, requires precisely aligning the camera to applied back plate.

We can have a Match Camera Tool for this task.

To enable this function, Navigate to [Tools > Match Camera] OR Hit Keyboard Shortcut CTRL+J.

Later, manipulate the lines to match the camera to the backplate image.

Akhil C

SOLIDWORKS User success Engineering Specialist at Dassault Systemes
Mechanical Engineer with overall 5 years of experience in mechanical domain - Academics and Industry. 4+ years in Technical Support of Computer Aided Design and Supporting SOLIDWORKS suite of products. Certifications: 3DEXPERIENCE® Collaborative Industry Innovator, 3DEXPERIENCE® Industry Innovator, 3DEXPERIENCE® 3D Creator